2,600 overpaid teachers and staff still owe €800k

More than €800,000 has still to be deducted from the pay of 2,600 teachers and other school staff who were overpaid by the Department of Education in 2011.

The overpayments arose when it took the department over six months to determine who should be subject to a 10% reduction announced in Dec 2010 to the pay of all new entrants to the public service.

The difficulties arose due to problems figuring out those who had worked before Jan 2011, many as part-time or substitute teachers, as they were exempt from reduced salary levels.

When details emerged last September, the estimated overpayments totalled just over €1m to almost 3,000 new teachers, and the money did not begin to be recovered from them until late last year.

However, at the Dáil Public Accounts Committee in February, department officials said they had revised the figure up to €1,745,000 overpaid to 5,025 people.

By that stage, just over €500,000 had been recovered through payroll deductions from teachers and non-teaching staff.

Latest figures from the Department of Education show a further €407,305 had been recouped up to Jun 11, leaving €828,695 still to be repaid.

Those still owing money on that date included 672 primary teachers with total outstanding amounts of €372,823, or an average of more than €550 each. At the standard deduction rate of €20 per fortnight, it would take another year for the full amounts to be repaid by them.

Also still owing money back to the department were:

n1,011 post-primary teachers, who owe €367,070, or an average of €363 each;

n919 non-teaching staff, owing €88,802, or €96 each, on average.

Although those who owe money have the option to pay back at a higher rate than €20 a fortnight, or to pay back all outstanding amounts in one sum, a breakdown of the numbers involved was not available from the department.

“It is not possible to say when all overpayments will be recouped at this stage, as individual overpayment amounts vary,” said a department spokesperson. “It remains the intention of the department that all overpayments will be recovered in full in the shortest possible timeframe.”

The total €1,745,000 that was initially overpaid is less than 0.04% of the department’s total annual payroll budget, which caters for 95,300 people paid on a fortnightly basis.

Further amounts may be owed by teachers and other staff of Education and Training Boards, who were working for Vocational Education Committees during the relevant period in 2011, but for whom the department does not have payroll information.


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